BY ADAM SERRANO
The California Golden Bears have undergone a topsy turvy week.
Last week, the university's sports programs felt the sting of budget cuts as a number of sports were eliminated in a cost cutting measure. Cal's #19 ranked soccer program was rumored to be on the list of potential budget cuts for the University. Head Coach Kevin Grimes stated that he was not able to comment on the cuts, but admitted that it was of his understanding any additional cuts in the athletic programs would not continue.
Only days after the cuts, the Golden Bears traveled across the Bay to their arch rival, the rapidly improving Stanford and were victorious in a 3-0 victory in a win that was much closer than the scoreline suggests. Grimes was very pleased with the Bears victory over the arch rival.
“It was a very good game by both teams, both teams played well and had good moments," said Grimes. "Stanford is starting to find their form of late having won 4 games in a row. We had to be at our best on Saturday.”
UCLA'S CHAVEZ RETURNS BRUINS TO HAT TRICK GLORY
In the Bruins 3-1 victory over Oregon State, freshman forward Victor Chavez registered the first hat trick by a Bruin in 25 years. Perhaps what made the hat trick impressive was that it came within the span of five minutes and allowed the No.20 Bruins to register their first league victory.
A member of the 2009 U.S. U-17 World Cup team, Chavez is part of head coach Jorge Salcedo's youth movement after losing nine players to the MLS Draft last season. Chavez has five goals this season.
UC IRVINE BECOMING CONFERENCE POWER
The Big West Conference has long been dominated by the UC Santa Barbara, but this season a school down the coast of California is threatening to be crash the Gauchos Final Four party. Ranked No.9 by College Soccer News ahead of Eastern powers like Duke and Ohio State, the Anteaters registered their ninth shutout of the season in a 3-0 victory over UC Davis on Wednesday.
Led by junior goalkeeper Andrew Fontein and the scoring tandem of forwards Amani Walker and Spencer Thompson, the Anteaters are undefeated in Big West play. Fontein's streak has already surpassed the school record of eight and has the talented goalkeeper ranked third in the NCAA in Goals Against Average with at 0.233.
UCSB IN TURMOIL
UCSB Gauchos had expected that this would be the year that they would be able to lift the national championship on their own field and in the first few months of the season, the story as not gone according to plan. The Gauchos currently sit unranked in all major polls after starting the season ranked as high as sixth. UCSB's title hopes took a major hit last week when the Gauchos fell on the road to Cal-State Fullerton in a shocking overtime 1-0 overtime defeat on September 29th.
Since the loss the Gauchos have won two in a row including a 3-0 victory over Fullerton on Wednesday, but will need their high powered offense to kick back into gear to return to prominence. The Gauchos will have the chance for redemption next Friday when they host No.11 Duke in Santa Barbara.
GAMES TO WATCH OUT WEST
With league play in full swing, there are a pair of matches to watch this weekend in the Pac-10 and Big West conferences. Here's a look at a few of the matches that will highlight the weekend out west.
UC Irvine will return to the OC to take on the rapidly improving Cal Poly. The Mustangs are 1-0 in Big West play and sit at 4-3 overall, a record that has Cal Poly on the heels of surpassing perennial power UCSB in the standings. Look for the Anteaters to keep on rolling and defeat the Mustangs.
The Match of the Week sees the Bruins take on the San Diego State Aztecs at UCLA's Drake Stadium. The Aztecs are ranked No.21st by Soccer America and are coming off a victory over then No. 14 Washington. The Aztecs are led by their captain, senior defender Daniel Steres who will be responsible for stopping the Bruins attack. UCLA appears to be a team hitting their stride should be too much for the Aztecs to handle.